WC 2003 - A stitch in time and a heroic Sarwan fail to save WI

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003, 8:20 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Ramnaresh Sarwan, who recovered from a sickening blow to the head and a trip to the hospital as a result, came agonisingly close to pulling off a miraculous World Cup win for the West Indies against Sri Lanka in Cape Town on Friday.But the 22-year-old's heroic efforts, and his unbeaten 47, were not enough to save his side from going down to a six-run defeat as it finished on 222 for 9.Chasing 229 to win, West Indies was cruising at 62 for 2 off 15 overs under the lights of Newlands when disaster struck Sarwan.

He ducked into a 138kmh bouncer from Dilhara Fernando, was hit on the helmet and collapsed to the ground in agony before being stretchered off and taken to hospital.The following ball, skipper Carl Hooper fell lbw to Fernando and with Chaminda Vaas exploiting the night conditions to perfection to finish with 4 for 22, including the prized wicket of Brian Lara for one, the West Indies was looking as if it was doomed to a comprehensive defeat.But the West Indians dug deep with Chris Gayle making 55 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul hitting 65 to set up a thrilling finish under the Newlands lights.

When Chanderpaul was out in the 43rd over, Sarwan, who had undergone treatment for cuts and lacerations as well as an X-Ray, dramatically returned to the middle and hit 47 off 44 balls including 13 off one over but the gap was just too big to make up.The result means Sri Lanka, for whom Muthiah Muralitharan conceded just 26 runs off ten overs with one wicket, has virtually booked its place in the Super Sixes leaving the West Indies to beat Kenya on Tuesday and also rely on results in other matches going its way if it is to stay in the tournament.

Sri Lanka, which was beaten by Kenya in Nairobi on Monday, won the toss, elected to bat and made 228 for 6 off its 50 overs with captain Sanath Jayasuirya top scoring with 66.Copyright AFP 2001

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